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Supervisors Mixed on Countywide Tax Abatements

Written By Editor on 1/28/14 | 1/28/14

With several Valley governments either adopting or researching proposals to implement tax abatements in their respective municipalities, Town of Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone and allies renewed efforts to see the controversial tax assessment exemptions adopted countywide at Friday's monthly Board of Supervisors meeting. 

Spurred by movement toward abatements, Mr. Milone proposed a public hearing be held to further educate the public and continue discussion of adopting two soon to be introduced local laws based on the Town of Schoharie's first time home-buyers and home improvement exemptions approved last fall, as recommended by Real Property Tax Services. 

However, not everyone was on board.

Both Supervisors Bradt and Vroman assailed the hidden costs of adopting tax abatements to non-qualifying landowners, with Mr. Bradt of Carlisle arguing that unassuming neighbors would have to pick up the tab for homeowners that receive the exemptions. Mr. Milone reiterated his previous statements on the tax proposals by stating they would have no effect on existing landowners and that, "there is no downside to this."

Town of Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon then jumped into the conversation, arguing against Mr. Bradt's position by pointing out that if a young couple purchased a previously vacant property in Huntersland assessed at $130,000 but were exempted for half the land's value the first year, there would still be a net gain of $65,000 in taxable value for the Town that would increase in $13,000 intervals over a five year period.

Calling Mr. Milone's proposal a great idea for, "those places that really need it," Town of Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice voiced his concerns over adopting countywide abatements because he felt if they were extended to Towns not affected by Irene and Lee that valley communities would not be helped as originally intended.  

After further discussion Supervisors set the public hearing on the two proposed local laws to immediately following their regularly scheduled county board meeting on Friday, February 21st at 2 pm. Members of the board, regardless of their position, believed more discussion was needed on abatements and their effect on county landowners.
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